MLB Announced It’s Hosting a Food Festival and I’ve Never Been More Excited for Anything in My Life


source–  We’ve built an all-star roster for the first MLB FoodFest, with a menu that boasts tastings from ALL 30 ballparks – from the Dodgers’ lauded Cheeto-Lote to the Mariners’ toasted grasshoppers.

On top of the eats, we’ll also be keeping your IG feed fed with a hot dog art gallery, massive popcorn pit, and more.

One weekend only, tickets are limited.

 This came across my feed the other day. A food festival showcasing signature dishes from all 30 Major League stadiums. Purely out of instinct I purchased tickets immediately. I didn’t even think twice. Don’t think I thought once, to be honest. What better way to usher in the new era of the Brian’s Den then to attend a massive cultural event in my first month in New York City? I actually don’t think this is a coincidence. MLB saw I was moving and immediately put this event together to welcome me to the city. Can’t say I blame them. So, yes, I will be there, and yes, I will try all 30 foods, and yes, there will be a video. If you want to join me get a ticket for Saturday April 22nd at 1-3 pm. I’m sure they’ll go fast now that everyone knows I’m coming.

Let’s take a look at the menu:

Some rapid fire thoughts-

  • Rockies sending a regular old cheeseburger when they have Rocky Mountain oysters is a head-scratcher.
  • Chicago dogs are the worst way to eat hot dogs don’t @ me.
  • A lot of crab here. Don’t hate it.
  • I already know the Cheeto-lote is going to be the worst thing I ever put in my mouth.
  • When I think Detroit, the first thing I think of is shawarma.
  • Things I’m looking forward to for content purposes: toasted grasshoppers, Monte Khrush Davis Cristo, Cheeto-lote, churro dog, Pig Pickin’, chicken and donut slider.
  • Things I actually want to eat: South Side Horseshoe, Brisket-acho, bacon wrapped plantain, Tri-tip nachos, Reuben Cuban sandwich, chicken waffle cone, lobster roll.
  • Calories clearly don’t count here.
  • Toasted grasshoppers is the most Seattle thing imaginable.
  • Wonder if eating everything will get me a non-roster invite to a team’s spring training next year.
  • This is going to be the greatest day of my life followed by perhaps the worst trip(s) to the bathroom in human history.

Red Sox Sign J.D. Martinez

J.D. Martinez


Forget about everything I said about the Red Sox not being contenders, because the World Series is back on!!! Who needs Stanton? Who needs Judge? J.D. is in the house and about to hit 10,000,000,000 balls over the Monster this season. A perfect contract, too. And Hanley is TB12 now? 162-0. Let’s gooooooooo.

Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts Say There Was Tension in the Red Sox Clubhouse Last Season


source– FORT MYERS, Fla. — For a team that won 93 games and a division title, the Boston Red Sox rarely seemed to be having any fun last year. Now, as they prepare for a new season with practically the same roster, two prominent players are admitting there were problems in the clubhouse.

Mookie Betts said Thursday that the 2017 Red Sox felt “tension in the locker room.” Xander Bogaerts took it further, describing “head-butts” and “disagreements” and expressing a need for the team to learn from the experience and go forward.

“I mean, we all know. We all know what was going on,” Bogaerts said. “I don’t think I really want to get into details. The quicker we move on is the better for all of us.”

The Red Sox spent 105 days in first place last season and won the American League East by two games over the surging New York Yankees. But they fell in the first round of the playoffs for a second consecutive year, absorbing a pair of 8-2 blowouts in the first two games against the Houston Astros and getting eliminated in Game 4 at Fenway Park.

Mini-controversies were ever present with the Red Sox last season.

In April, television cameras caught second baseman Dustin Pedroia shouting, “It’s not me, it’s them,” at Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado after Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes threw a pitch behind Machado’s head. Left-hander David Price screamed at a reporter in a hallway underneath Yankee Stadium in June then humiliated Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley on the team plane a month later for an innocuous comment during a TV broadcast. In August, a trainer was caught using a smartwatch to relay stolen signs to players.

“I think [there was] just tension in the locker room as far as if things were down,” Betts said. “We could have had more fun. Through the rough times, I think those are the times when we could have had a little more fun instead of being down so much.”

Said Bogaerts: “We had a lot of stuff going on last year, to be honest. We all live and learn. We can’t just sit back and keep reminding ourselves about the past. That’s not something we want to do.”

Uhhhhh, ya think?

Last season sucked for the Red Sox. As bad as a division-winning season could be. Chris Sale was the best pitcher in the league for the first half then just ran out of gas and got destroyed in the playoffs. David Price was hurt all year and his prickly relationship with the very prickly Boston media ruin what should have been a pretty inspirational return to the bullpen. Every week they had a new feud with a different team. I completely forgot about the stupid Apple Watch scandal. Everyone just seemed so out of it and so pouty and everything just sucked. Saying there was tension in the Red Sox clubhouse is like saying LeBron doesn’t like Isaiah Thomas.

But, I don’t know if you heard, but pitchers and catchers reported, which means all the problems go away. They also have a new manager, so now all the problems definitely go away. That’s how it works, right? I’m actually pretty pumped for Alex Cora to take over, but the only way anything changes is if the players actually start caring again. And let’s be honest- unless something crazy happens this team isn’t going to sniff the World Series. The Yankees, Astros, and Indians are all better than them, and the Red Sox big move is probably going to be signing Logan Morrison. Yipee. So, unlike last year, the expectations are pretty much gone. If they just become a fun team to watch and grab one of the Wild Card spots, I’d be perfectly happy with the season. But if this keeps snowballing and becomes Chicken and Beer, pt. 2, then I don’t see how they don’t make even more wholesale changes. Not to spoil my eventual MLB preview, but I’m of the mind that they’ll make the playoffs, if for no other reason than they have a manager with a brain. But, not to dip too far into the Boston talk show host waters, the Sox do a lot of bitching to the media. Maybe tone down the complaining just a little? The team needs a little more mental toughness to ever reach their potential, I don’t think that’s too warm of a take. I think Alex Cora can certainly help with that. If you’re actually enjoying yourself, odds are you’ll play better. But, at the same time, you shouldn’t need to be having fun to play well. If you’re a professional, you should be able to motivate yourself regardless of the situation and not then blame it on outside circumstances. Which is what a lot of Red Sox like to do. I don’t know, I feel like I’m already talking myself out of this season, which I definitely don’t want to do, so I’ll just stop.

TL;DR- Sox need to grow up.

Is Having a Huge Lead the Worst Thing That Can Ever Happen to a Sports Team in 2018?


In the moments after Sunday’s stupefyingly exciting NFL playoff games, I was searching for a take to throw out there in the coming days. Most NFL weekends I kind of just let breathe until the next one, since usually nothing crazy happens and I already told you everything that would happen beforehand in my weekly picks. But I knew this weekend was different. Too many crazy finishes, too much drama. I couldn’t just recap the games, that’d be boring and pointless. So what should I talk about? I was ready to just scrap it and move on to something else when it hit me: in 2018, having a huge lead at any point in the game is the worst thing that can possibly happen to a team. And to be clear I’m not talking about something like the Titans taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter against the Pats or the Twins going up 3-0 in the top of the first in the Wild Card game against a superior Yankees team. Early leads like that come and go all the time. I’m talking about the games where one team looks like they’re playing a completely different sport than the other. The ones that are over at the half. The ones where the announcers are warming up their garbage time material. The ones where the comeback is so obvious that anyone could see it coming, but everyone is still somehow caught off guard. They’ve become practically commonplace.

Think about what we’ve seen in the last few years: Vikings were up 17 at the half and it felt like 700. If it weren’t for the worst defensive gaffe of all time they would have lost. Jags were up 21-0 and were dying to give it away, and probably would have if Mike Tomlin wasn’t an IDIOT. The Titans looked worse in the first half against Kansas City than they did at any point against the Pats and they made that comeback look easy. I guess last year’s Super Bowl counts. College sports are a different animal, but Georgia had the least convincing two score lead of all time and predictably blew it. Penn State was passing out Rose Bowl Champion shirts on the sideline before Sam Darnold’s one good game. The Clippers had historic collapses against the Rockets and Warriors. PSG’s unbelievable-but-totally-believable loss to Barcelona in the Champions League. Yankees erased a 2-0 series lead against the Indians, then blew a 3-2 lead in the very next round. People forget that the Warriors, Thunder, and Indians blew 3-1 leads in the same year. Teams just flat out refuse to close out leads these days, and it’s starting to get easier and easier to spot.

First off, and not to always bring things back to my privileged life as a Pats fan, but obviously certain teams are exempt from this. The Pats would literally never blow a massive lead in a playoff game. Spurs usually squeeze the life out of teams and don’t allow comebacks in games where their best player doesn’t get hurt. Baseball is too unpredictable to always avoid blowing the occasional lead, but the good teams usually can. That’s really the crux of things, if we’re being honest- all the teams that blow these leads are either actually inferior or believe they’re inferior. No one on the planet thought the Titans were better than the Chiefs, but the Chiefs get paralyzed by success. They want to be the victim so they clam up. Same with the Vikings. The Vikings get into their own heads trying to finally win that big game, so they just start panicking. The Jags aren’t supposed to beat a team like the Steelers, so when the Steelers score a touchdown the Jags, despite what Jalen Ramsey would like you to believe, start questioning things. They were lucky Blake Bortles and Tomlin bailed them out. It’s happened against the Pats a million times. There have been so many comebacks that teams create a self-fulfilling prophecy when they get a lead because all they can think about is how to avoid being the next team to blow a lead.

They’re so easy to predict now, too. In football, if a team is down 21-0 but scores at the end of the half and opens the half by either getting the ball back or forcing a 3-and-out, the leading team goes away from what got them the lead, playing soft defense meant to limit big plays and not make mistakes, next thing you know you’re wondering how you blew that big lead. In basketball, if you take ten points off the lead in the third quarter, you better believe the team in front is going to start passing the ball around, trying not to be the guy that has to shoot, trying not to turn it over, trying not to make the big mistake, then you look up and people are clowning you on Twitter for blowing a bigger lead than the Warriors. Baseball is almost the most obvious because it’s so clear when the pitcher wants no part of the game. One guy gets rocked, put in the next reliever who gets lit up, and now it’s a train of middle relief that’s dying not to be the guy that blows it. And literally any college sport if a team has a huge lead but gives up two unanswered scores it’s pretty much over. The signs are so easy to spot yet people are still caught off guard. If I were a coach, I’d recognize right away if my team had Loser DNA and try to counteract it. “We have a two score lead in the fourth quarter, I’m not going to run prevent defense and I think I’ll call plays that have a chance of picking up 4-5 yards every time to take the pressure off my terrible quarterback.” “Boy, how should I protect this 10 point lead with five minutes left? Perhaps I’ll keep my gameplan the same since that’s what gave us the lead and it’s a good thing I had the foresight to practice what to do against a full court press so my team doesn’t start running around like a chicken with their head cut off.” “Maybe I won’t put my season in the hands of a reliever with a career ERA of over 5.” Somehow professional coaching staffs don’t know how to prevent these things, which just proves that Loser DNA is real. Some teams are just destined to blow leads and never win. Loser DNA is going to make its presence felt this weekend in a big way. For who? Well, you’ll have to tune in on Friday to find out. That’s what they call a tease in the biz. Just like the fleeting feeling of pride you get when you think the team you like is about to win the big game by a million points. These days, it’s safer to just assume they won’t.

The FBI Needs to Arrest Rob Manfred for Allowing the Giancarlo Stanton Trade to Happen


Folks, I am currently both #triggered and #madonline. The reason? Well, it has something to do with yesterday’s catastrophic news that Giancarlo Stanton, National League MVP and Major League leader in home runs, was traded to the Yankees. Yes, the very same New York Yankees everyone knows and loves. The same Yankees that hit the most home runs in the league in a year where a league-wide record was set for most home runs. The same Yankees that somehow convinced the world that they were a bunch of loveable, plucky underdogs despite having the second highest payroll in the league and being the Yankees. I’m pretty sure Stanton was traded to the very same Yankees that the new Marlins owner played for once upon a time. After I saw the initial reports yesterday morning, I kept holding out hope that it wouldn’t happen. That someone would come out and say it was just a rumor or that the most perfect physical specimen in MLB history would somehow fail a physical. But of course I knew better. I wasn’t even mad in the moment. It was a bit nostalgic, honestly. It took me back to the days of pre-2004, pre-puberty me where I just accepted that everything would always break the Yankees’ way no matter what. As soon as I saw he was considering the Yankees I knew it was a done deal. We had already been given an unexpected gift when prize Japanese import Shohei Ohtani spurned the Yankees; there was no way they’d miss out on both of the big fish on the market. I was ready to just mope about it for a while, but now that the dust has settled and all the details are out I need some answers. This is some real shady shit, and the league should be embarrassed that they let it happen.

How are there not rules against this? Derek Jeter is a Yankee LEGEND. He is the Yankees. And you’re going to let him trade players to the Yankees within six months of him purchasing (with other people’s money) the Marlins? And for that? Starlin Castro and two nothing prospects is enough to get the best player in the National League? Are you kidding me? I mean, to be fair I was expecting it to be Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley straight up, but I think I would have preferred that. At least then Jeter wouldn’t even be trying to hide the fact the he was gift-wrapping Stanton to his former team. Literally everything Jeter has done since he took over has had moving Stanton to the Yankees in mind. Firing everyone in the organization so that Stanton was unhappy and wanted to leave. Announcing Stanton was for sale without consulting him first, knowing only two or three teams in the league could take that contract and effectively removing any and all leverage the Marlins had, ensuring they could accept the first offer Stanton agreed to, regardless of how terrible it was. Convincing Stanton behind the scenes that the Red Sox were a terrible situation (true), the Cardinals and Giants sucked (true), and that the Dodgers “couldn’t afford it” (hmmmmm), thus leaving the Yankees as the only realistic landing spot (I may have made up this part but you know it’s true). It just makes me so pissed, because there’s a 0% chance any of these guys plays one game for the Marlins this year. They’re just going to flip Castro and probably get a lot more for him than they got for Stanton. Unless the Yankees want him back, then all it will take is a signed copy of John Sterling’s Greatest Hits. So disgusting.

I’m not even upset at the Yankees. If someone wants to accept you steaming pile of garbage of a trade offer, it’s not your fault. And, if I can put on my logically thinking Yankee H8tr hat on, I don’t really see how this helps them in the long run. Yes, they will now hit the most home runs in the league, something they haven’t done since the 2017 season. The top of this lineup is reminiscent of the Jeter-ARod-Giami-Sheffield-Matsui-Posada days, but those teams didn’t win shit. Quite the opposite, in fact. They literally have the worst loss in MLB history on their resume. The Yankees’ starting pitching is still bad, and, with the Yankees trying to cut cost and avoid the luxury tax, they can’t really afford to go out and buy another one. The history of these long, huge money deals going into a player’s 30s is pretty gruesome. Just look at Albert Pujols, whose prime was better than Stanton’s and was hardly ever hurt. With another four years left on his deal, he’s arguably the worst player in the league. Stanton’s hurt almost every year. I, for one, don’t see any issues there. Lastly, something Yankee fans have been saying for years is that they would sign Bryce Harper and Manny Machado just because they’re the Yankees. Well, next year is finally when both hit the open market. As we just established, the Yankees are trying to cut payroll. So you’re telling me they’re going to sign Machado and Harper to massive deals, keep paying Stanton $30 million a year, and then, with at least three mega-contracts on the books, sign Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez when they hit arbitration or free agency? Ummmm, yeah, I don’t think so. Unless, of course, the Yankees decide to move on from Sanchez and/or Judge, which I think would cause riots in the streets of New York. This trade kind of screws up any long term plan they might have had. In fact, the more I think about it, the only thing I’m upset about is that one of my favorite players is now on the Yankees and that I might have to admit to myself that watching Judge and Stanton hit 600-bombs all year will be entertaining. Astros are still the best team in the league. That being said, if the Red Sox don’t sign J.D. Martinez I might be out on baseball for the next ten years.

R.I.P. Roy Halladay


Still feels strange saying it. Roy Halladay, 2-time Cy Young winner, million time All Star, future Hall of Famer, and only 40 years old, died in a plane crash yesterday. I was scrolling through Twitter when I saw someone retweet something along the lines of “RIP Doc.” I just ignored it, because that could mean anything. Then I saw more and more similar tweets, then I saw the reports about the plane crash. Then it became real. The police on the scene announced Roy Halladay, the pilot, had died. It was a shock. It’s always a shock when I get the notification that a current or recently retired athlete died. Maybe it’s because I still have the mind of a 12-year-old and these guys are all superhuman to me. They’re all in perfect shape and have more physical gifts than the rest of us can dream of, they don’t die. They don’t get hurt outside the playing field. But, as we’ve been getting reminded of far too frequently these days, they’re mortal just like the rest of us.

When the news first broke, I wasn’t in a position to write about it, so I decided to sleep on it and reflect about what Roy Halladay meant to me (because that’s what really matters, right?). Anyone around my age from my part of the country essentially grew up with Roy heavily involved in their development as a baseball fan. I hit my peak baseball viewership at nearly the same time Roy overcame his early-career woes and became the dominant All Star he was for over a decade. I saw him face the Red Sox a thousand times, and while the Sox typically hit him fairly well, it was never a comfortable experience. He had an intimidating demeanor and delivery that always made it seem like he knew something the hitter didn’t, that he had a grander scheme that no one else could comprehend. I also never hated him, which, believe me, was no small feat. Since I always liked my parents and performed well in school, pretty much all of my pubescent angst was concentrated on sports. I hated more athletes in middle school than I think I could even name today. Anyone who ever performed well against one of my teams, or really anyone who didn’t play for one of my teams who ever received any kind of praise for multiple days on PTI or SportsCenter I hated passionately. But I never hated Roy. I think subconsciously, he was always one of my favorite players to watch. Home runs and endless hit parades are fun every now and then and in video games, but in terms of actually watching baseball, Roy embodied every positive quality a pitcher could have: he worked quickly, he threw strikes, he never walked anybody, he pitched to his defense, he always went at least 7 innings. Fast moving baseball games are legitimately some of the best things in sports, and any game with Roy on the hill was almost guaranteed to be under 3 hours. Sure, he was a great, dominant pitcher, but his stuff probably won’t be what I remember him for. It’ll be his ability to make palatable, aesthetically pleasing baseball games, his playoff no-hitter (which doubled as the first playoff baseball game I watched in college, whatever that means), and his reputation for being one of the nicest, most genuine guys in baseball. All of those things should go on his plaque in Cooperstown.

This also made me think about flying. I think a lot of people are going to take this one, tragic incident and be like “why was he flying?” or “this is why I don’t like small planes,” or “this is why you should stay on the ground,” or any similar take. Personally, I love flying. Love, love, love it. Everyone in the world but me hates airports and flying, but I’m okay with that. I also don’t know if I’ve ever said this out loud before, but one of my biggest dreams is to someday get my pilot’s license. I want to fly planes, I want to fly helicopters, all of it. I’ve just always wanted to be the guy that knows how to operate a bunch of different vehicles. Whenever I think of what role I would want in a criminal organization, I’ve always said that if I can’t be the mastermind, I want to be the chauffeur who also flies the company plane and pilots the submarine and all of that. And, clearly, Roy was the same way. He loved flying. If you followed him on Twitter you know he lived for it. It was his biggest passion outside of baseball. You don’t question why someone was driving if they get into a car crash. He died doing something he loved. In the end, that’s all we can really ask for. R.I.P. Roy Halladay.

Houston Astros Win the World Series


Well, that was a decent series, huh? Bit of an anticlimactic Game 7, this still has to be considered one of the greatest World Series of all time. Or at least one of the most exciting. Crazy what happens when the two best teams in the league play a seven game series. When the dust settled, the Astros were finally world champions for the first time.

The most obvious storyline for the Astros was the effect a possible title would have on the city of Houston after the devastation of Hurricane Henry. It’s an uplifting story, but I’ll let the people who have real connections to the city dive into all of that. I’ll just say I’m happy for them and I’m grateful that they beat the Yankees. It would feel a little cynical to suggest having their homes (the Astros also have many Puerto Rican players) get destroyed by natural disasters would give them any kind of extra motivation to win the World Series, but I also don’t think you can discount the emotional lift they got every time they played in Houston. I mean, Minute Maid was rocking every night. One of the craziest baseball environments I’ve ever seen on TV. The Astros provided a much needed distraction for the city, and I think relished that role. Or they were just really, really, good and would have won no matter what. Who’s to say?

I’m always fascinated by teams who win either their first ever championship or their first in a super long time. Will they go the route of the Bulls, Spurs, Warriors, Pats, Blackhawks, or Red Sox and ride generational talents and, in the Red Sox’ case, deep pockets to multiple championships? Or will the go the way of the White Sox, Carolina Hurricanes, Mavericks (still love Dirk, though), or Saints where when we look back in 20-30 years, we ask “wait, that team won a title?” I think the Astros are most likely to be the former. For starters, they’ve got elite talent. Going up the middle, their second baseman and shortstop are future Hall of Famers barring injury and their centerfielder is an All Star. That’s three of the four most important positions on the field filled by three of the top, I don’t know, 20-25 players in the league? Then they have two Cy Young winners, one of whom is a lock for the Hall of Fame? And solid players on the corners, including a defensive wizard third baseman that everyone kind of forgot was a rookie this year? That sounds like a recipe for success, to me. Their core guys are still just entering their primes. Yes, the bullpen is capital B BAD, but all those years of tanking gave them a rich farm system they can use to acquire better, more trustworthy arms if they feel the need. They just kind of have that look, too. Most championship teams have it, sure, but if you watch sports long enough you start to recognize the teams with the different mindsets than anyone else. The combination of results and reputation that feed not only their own confidence but lower the other team’s. The Astros just kept coming back, kept getting up off the mat. The Yankees had them dead to rights and they just brushed them off. The Dodgers should have won this series in all honesty, but their bullpen, which had been untouchable all year, started to legitimately believe they couldn’t get anyone out. You see it with the Pats. The run is probably over, but you saw it with the Giants, especially when Bumgarner was on the hill. You see it with the Warriors, and the Cavs (against the East), and with Duncan’s Spurs, and all the great NBA dynasties. Other teams are going to start wondering if they can actually beat them as Altuve and Correa go back to back for the millionth time. Unless there’s some kind of disastrous injury or something of the like, the Astros aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Some random thoughts:

  • Hard Hittin’ New Britain’s own George Springer was named World Series MVP. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but both he and I went to the University of Connecticut. I’m not saying that means I deserve a ring, but I’m not saying it doesn’t mean that, either.
  • I love live TV marriage proposals so much. Maybe because they’re always really awkward and forced. Maybe it’s because there’s always the slim chance she says no. Maybe it’s because I enjoy other people experience a moment of joy I’ll never have. Either way, I’m glad Carlos Correa chose last night to propose, regardless of the fact that he couldn’t have picked a worse time or place.
  • When did Yu Darvish become bad? So weird.
  • Andre Ethier has looked the same since ’09 and I don’t think he’s played more than 20 games in a season since then, either.
  • Astros wearing orange in game 7 is an unfair advantage.
  • Everything about Evan Gattis is awesome.
  • I hope having a huge World Series means Joc Pederson is back, both because I love him and because I have an odd obsession with Jewish athletes.
  • It sucks Kershaw couldn’t get it done, but I think the universe decided that letting both Kershaw and the best redhead athlete in America win a championship would be too much.
  • Not to make everything about me and be “insensitive,” but I feel a lot better about the Pats’ playoff chances now that Houston’s cashed in it’s Disaster Team voucher. Don’t need to be worried about facing the Good Mojo team come January.
  • But seriously, donate to Houston and Puerto Rico hurricane relief
  • Can’t wait for April. Red Sox World Series Champions 2018